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I Hate to Weed

Thoughts on the terrible chore of weeding.

I am a lazy gardner. And I especially hate (I mean HATE!) to weed. I dislike bending over. I dislike getting dirt under my fingernails. And I dislike the tedium.

Because I dislike weeding, I try to get weeds when they first appear. Early exertion is much better than the extra exertion that will be required if a weed is allowed to drops its anchor in the dirt. And a stubborn pull is not the worst outcome. If a piece of, say, a stoleniferous grass (such as some blue grasses) weaves its way into another plant, say an iris, then weeding can become a dreary chore of disentangling the grass from the iris rhizomes. And God help you if you miss a piece! The grass will grow back and you'll have to do it again. Yuck!

Another reason to get the weeds early is because if they are allowed to go to seed, you'll face 30 times the weeds later. So I weed early and often, not because I am so fastidious, but because I'm so lazy.  

There are other tricks to making weeding easier. One is mulch. Mulch has numerous benefits, keeping weeds down is just one of them. A good layer of mulch can cover up weed seeds preventing them from ever germinating. But if they do generminate, it is much easier to pull them from loose mulch than from more structured, clingy soil.  

Another approach to minimize weeding is to plant shrubs and perennials close enough together that weeds don't have a chance. This won't work with roses or lilies, but it will work with plants that dominate the ground on which they stand, plants such as hostas or low growing azaleas. One can over do this approach. As I look around, planting too close is a common gardening mistake. That said, site plants so that when they mature they provide a canopy that makes it hard for weeds to get started.

In the war on weeds, nothing is so helpful as a good hoe. For weeding stay away from draw hoes and warren hoes (which are v-shaped). These are designed to move soil and dig furrows.  ou don't want to move soil when you weed because moving soil is work. Worse, moving soil will expose weed seeds that can then germinate, creating more work for later.  

Rather you want a hoe that can scrape the roots out from underneath the weeds. I have a swan neck hoe that I love. Others swear by stirrup hoes, dutch hoes and glide and groom hoes. These are almost knives on a stick (and you should sharpen them). They skim along the surface of the soil and make weeding a dream.  

Modern gardeners have a new weapon in their arsenal: pre emergents. These chemicals prevent weed seeds from ever getting started. Some of them, like Preen (a registered trademark) are made from corn gluten. I use it in border areas between the lawn and a flower bed and other places where I don't want anything to germinate.  ake care not to spread it any place you'd like flowers to seed. 

Although weeding is a pain, the good news that if you stay on top of the weeds for just a couple of years, the problem will diminish considerably. If it didn't, I might not garden at all. Like I told you, I HATE to weed.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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